Day 1: Dushanbe to Kalaikhumb 360km 7/8hours altitude 1245 mh.
Meeting at your hotel and start the tour to Pamir!
We set off east towards the Pamirs and Kalaikhumb, driving through beautiful scenery and interesting village’s en route. This area is a little more conservative, and we see many men with beards, and women wearing traditional dress. We will cross the Shurabad Pass (2200m high) On the road we will visit to the ancient fortress Hulbuk dated by VIII century recently restored under the decree of the president. The local guide will talk interesting stories about the life in the fortress, shows outlines of the bases of rooms, halls and harems of the local governor’s palace. Arrive to Kalaikhumb in the early evening.
Overnight in Guest House. Meals included: (1 Lunch,1 Dinner)
Day 2: KalaiKhumb to Khorog. 250km 6/7h altitude 2412mh
From Kalaikhumb we leave for Khorog some of terrain ahead of us This rout passing lakes, and the rivers traversing some of the most magnificent scenery in the Pamirs. We have reached the capital of Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO).The route passes through amazing twists and turns. The snow-capped mountains, criss-crossed by wild rivers and lakes. Arrive to Khorog , the capital of the Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) and overnight.
Overnight at Hotel Lal or similar Meals included: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch,1 Dinner)
The capital of Gorno-Badakshan Autonomous Oblast, Khorog is a small town that at various times has been under the control of the Russia, the Emirate of Bukhara and Afghanistan. The Russians built a fort here in the Soviet era, with Khorog being in a highly strategic location on the border with Afghanistan, but today it languishes and is one of the least developed parts of the country, with the Aga Khan Foundation contributing to the bulk of the local economy. It holds the distinction of being home the second highest botanical garden in the world, at 3900m.
Day 3: Khorog to Ishkashim Yamg (Wakhan valley) (225 km 4/5 hours)
We have a little time to explore Khorog including the bazaar and the lovely Botanical Gardens which are perched high above the town, affording some great panoramic view. About 50kms along the road to our next stop, Ishkashim, we will stop at Garmchasma hot springs for an (optional) dip in the waters. Visit detour to the nearby village of Namadguti to visit the Khahkha Fortress. From here, we enter the Tajik half of the Wakhan Valley (shared with Afghanistan) and pass regional gem mines mentioned by Marco Polo. The most famous mine is Koh-i-Lal ruby mine which is visible from the road. Ishkashim itself the regional centre, but it is essentially still a large village and after lunch here we will continue our trip through Wakhan valley
Driving along the Wakhan valley and visit detour to the nearby village of Namadguti to visit the Khahkha Fortress. This impressive structure rises from a naturally formed platform of rock and dates back to the Kushan era of the 3rd Century. There are a number of these ancient fortresses in the area, and we also visit Yamchun fort, perhaps the most impressive of them. We take a break at the Bibi Fatima hot springs, named for the Prophet Mohammed’s sister and where local women believe they can increase their fertility.
Overnight in Guest House in Yamg village Meals included: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch,1 Dinner)
The Wakhan Valley (also pronounced Vakhan) is a majestic alpine valley in the Badakhshan region of Afghanistan and Tajikistan (the “Wakhan Corridor” refers to the part of the valley in Afghanistan). It is located in the Pamir Mountains in Central Asia. Its upper reaches consist of two wide, hilly plains surrounded by alpine peaks, beginning near the Chinese border in one of the most remote regions of the world. Further down, where the Pamir and Wakhan rivers join to form the Pyanj River, the valley narrows, finally becoming a severe canyon with roaring river rapids at its end in Ishkashem. Its muddy rivers are fed by water from huge glaciers on some of the highest mountains on the planet, fantastic views of which are visible throughout the area.
Day 4: Yamg to Murghab (285 km, 6/7 hours altitude 3500mh)
Today we get a chance to explore the amazing landscape of this area. We drive up to Murghab via the Kargushi Pass (4344 meters). On this journey we leave behind the lush valleys of the Wakhan Valley and enter a landscape that is rocky, mostly barren but nevertheless dramatic. This is the Pamir Highway we have anticipated, with the route between Khorog and Osh completed in 1931 across a Tibetan-plateau style high altitude terrain.
We leave for Murghab the center of East Pamir. The road up Murghab, however, is spectacular an, passing through again the settlement of Mamazair. This small town bestrides the Murghab at an altitude of 3,500 m. Younghusband visited it in 1890 and wrote “It is a dreary, desolate spot… with a certain amount of grassy pasture and a few scrubby bushes by the river, but surrounded by barren hills, and bitterly cold. How these Russian soldiers can support existence there is a marvel…shut up in dreary quarters, with nothing whatever to do – week after week, month after month passing by in dull monotony….” Over a century later, nothing much has changed.
We anticipate arriving in Murghab in Lunch time. Murghab (3670 m) itself has few attractions, but it will serve as our base for a one night as we explore the area a little. The 7546 m – high Chinese peak of Mustag Ata is visible to the northeast of town, 110 km away in a direct line.
Overnight in Home stay. Meals included: 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Day 5: Murghab to Osh short stop in Karakul lake (420 km, 6/7 hours)
We depart today to Osh Kyrgyzstan. This drive will see us enjoying some of the most dramatic scenery of the trip, with the lunar-like landscapes and bright blue lakes providing plenty of opportunities to take our breath away. We will cross a high-altitude pass Ak-Baital Pass (4655 meters) which is the highest section of road in the former Soviet Union. We descend to Karakul Lake, the highest lake in Central Asia, and at 3915 meters, too high to support any aquatic life. Our final Pamir Highway high pass is the Kyzyl Art Pass (4282 metres), which essentially forms the border between Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. Border formalities take place shortly after crossing the pass, with 20kms of ‘no man’s land’ to cross. Having crossed to Kyrgyzstan, we will keep our driver – although we are in a different country, the ethnic lines in this region are greatly blurred, and Russian, Tajik, Kyrygz and Uzbek are all spoken with interchangeable ease!
En route we cross the Taldyk Pass (3554m) and enjoy some beautiful views – if we’re lucky we may even catch a glimpse of Peak Lenin, at 7134m the second highest mountain in Central Asia. We expect to arrive in Osh (285km), Kyrgyzstan’s oldest city in the afternoon, with time to explore.
Overnight at the Hotel SunRise Osh Meals: (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch )
Osh is ancient – various sources date it back around 2500 years, and legends abound over who founded it, including Alexander the Great and King Solomon. On the edge of the Ferghana Valley it is home to both Uzbek and Kyrgyz people, with its position on the border giving rise to an extremely lively market, one of the most interesting in Central Asia. The rock known as Solomon’s Throne is an important place of pilgrimage for Muslims, and a 15th century mosque on the top has now been reconstructed, with excellent views of the surrounding countryside. Osh is also home to the largest mosque in Kyrgyzstan, and is one of the few places in the former Soviet Union still to have a statue of Lenin.
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